April 2013 - “Struck By” Injuries

Safety Alert Type: 
British Columbia
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
Company Name: 
BC Forest Safety Council
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

Being struck by objects is a major cause of injuries in the forest industry. These objects include danger trees, heavy equipment, rocks or pick-ups - anything that can move and hit a worker.

Have a look at the following struck by incidents that were reported in the last 2 months.

  • A certified manual faller was in the process of falling a tree when he was struck by a danger tree. The danger tree was limb tied to the tree he was falling; when the tree started to fall, the danger tree broke off and struck the faller. The faller sustained extensive bruising to right arm and both legs.
  • A certified hand faller was injured after being struck by a previously bucked limb from a loaded hemlock blow down that was being bucked.
  • A certified hand faller was falling a large diameter cedar. As the tree began to fall, the faller stepped back to watch the tree fall. At the same time a Hemlock snag that was leaning into the cedar, but behind the faller uprooted and fell towards the faller. The Hemlock snag pushed the faller to the ground, pinning the right forearm and right leg resulting in serious injuries.
  • FATALITY: A parked CAT 345C excavator, used with a grapple hook to move logs into the log haul from the booming area, struck a worker who entered into the operating zone of the machine. This incident occurred at a plywood plant.
  • FATALITY: A log truck driver was fatally injured while attempting to cut free a log that was not positioned properly in the load. After using a chainsaw to buck a section of the log free, the remainder of the log swung around and struck the driver.

These types of hazards exist for many forestry workers. Think about:

  • Stored energy in a piece of equipment that is not locked out
  • Logs or debris falling off the top of a load
  • Directing a pickup that is backing up
  • Rocks or logs rolling down steep slopes
  • Flyrock from blasting operations


Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Assess your work area for danger trees and remove them if necessary. Marking a no work zone around a danger tree can also be effective.

  • Secure logs with the loader when a driver throws their wrappers.
  • Test your communication system before working around mobile equipment. Make sure you can talk with the operator and they know where you are. Establish safe zones for workers on the ground.
  • When looking out for hazards, think about stored energy and what will happen if it is released. Examples: logs under tension or compression, vehicles parked on slopes or a tank of compressed gas.
  • Proper lock-out of equipment is part of avoiding struck by injuries. Test your lock out procedures before you have a break down. Are the procedures up to date? Do you have them for all your heavy equipment?


For more information on this submitted alert: 

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